|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Square Enix||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 02, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The experience points you acquire in the game are used exclusively for three options - Soras health, the Card Points, or learning a new Sleight (the abilities Sora has forgotten). The way these work is you have to stack you cards during battle. To do this you will have to select cards with the Triangle button. Depending on what is required to perform the Sleight, once you have assimilated your stack, you will hit the Triangle button again to perform the ability. This is a great way to both defeat your enemies quickly (in some cases) and to expend cards you have quickly, which can be a dangerous thing, since the cards are your way of attacking and healing Sora.
In addition to Soras story, you will be able to play as Riku through his one mode called Reverse/Rebirth. While this is not new to the game, there is a battle against Zexion that is new. Unfortunately, the newness of this port is not all that great. In addition to a few extra battles, the music has been upgraded from the GBA version. However, it is what youd expect from the Kingdom Hearts games you have already played on the PS2. This is not a bad thing, as there are times you can tell when a track has been tweaked ever so slightly in order to say it is fresh and new. The real shining aspect as far as the audio goes is the voice acted cutscenes. In the original North American release of the game, the voice acting was reduced to simple grunts, laughter, and the occasional battle cry. Now there are full cutscenes with voice acting from the voices we have come to expect of the franchise - like Haley Joel Osment for Sora. But lets be honest, having the voice acting and a few additional battles arent exactly the main reasons youd want to pick this title up. It is for the graphic upgrade this title has received. Upgrade is sort of an understatement.
Using the same graphic approach as the first Kingdom Hearts, the characters models look great in nearly every instance. They are as vibrant and colorful as you remember, with similar animations they had in the previous titles. The environments look spot on when compared to the PS2 version of the game as well. Unfortunately, there are times that the environments dont look finished. Whether this is due to the limits of Soras memories or a technical flaw Im not sure - certain rooms capture a little box of the environment, and as you look around you will only see the darkness encompassing everything. It is safe to say though, this doesnt detract from the experience of the game.
After what seems an eternity for news about the impending Kingdom Hearts III, most fans are willing to play anything with Kingdom Hearts attached to it. Thankfully, theres no real reason to not experience this version of the Game Boy Advanced title. New battles, voice acted cutscenes, and beautiful upgrades to the graphics all make this title a great addition. If you have played the original there may not be as much there for you, but for those that missed out for whatever reason, theres now no reason for you not to pick this title up. At 30 bucks, this is a deal, and it will help pass the time before the release of Birth by Sleep and 358/2 Days. Just bring your flow chart with you.
CCC Project Coordinator